Spokane, Wash. – The Arizona Rattlers (10-4) have clinched home field advantage in the Intense Conference championship with a win over the Spokane Empire (8-6) by a score of 33-16 at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington.
The win put the Rattlers two games up on both the Spokane Empire and the Nebraska Danger (8-6) with only two games left in the season. Arizona also holds the tie breaker now over both teams, which means that the Rattlers will host the Intense Conference Championship game in three weeks.
Arizona's defense at times looked impenetrable tonight. The Rattlers held the Empire scoreless throughout the entire second and third quarter. Linebacker Justin Shirk and defensive end Edward Mosley forced a safety in the second quarter and defensive backs Arkeith Brown and Allen Chapman both came away with interceptions late. Spokane was also held to only 14 yards on the ground.
On offense, Cody Sokol completed 13 of 22 for 166 yards and three touchdowns. He did have one interceptions and lost a fumble. Wide receiver Jamal Miles also had a good night on the ground with five attempts for 38 yards and a touchdown.
For Spokane, quarterback Aaron Wilmer completed 11 of his 28 passes for 115 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Rattlers got on the board first with a two-yard touchdown pass from Sokol to RB Darrell Monroe.
The Empire responded with a 27-yard pass from QB Aaron Wilmer to WR Orlando Harris Sr. on fourth down to tie the game. After a four-and-out by Arizona, the Empire would take the lead with a 42-yard field goal by K Brendon Garcia.
Late in the second quarter, the Rattlers pulled within a point with a sack on Wilmer in the end zone for the safety.
At the end of the half, the Rattlers re-took the lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Sokol to WR Anthony Amos. Both teams headed to the locker room with a score of 16-10.
Arizona was the first to get on the board in the second half with a two-yard rush by WR Antonio Vaughan.
The next score came midway through the fourth when Rattlers K Sawyer Petre made a 36-yard field goal to extend their lead to 16.
The Empire took the ensuing kickoff down to the Rattlers 2-yard line, where on the next play WR Trevor Kennedy punched it in for the score. The two-point conversion attempt, however was no good.
The Rattlers answered with toss from Sokol to Monroe who broke several tackles for 41 yards and the touchdown. The game ended with a score of 33-16; Arizona.
The Rattlers return home to the Talking Stick Resort Arena for their final home game of the regular season on Sunday, June 11th. They will take on the Cedar Rapids Titans, who are coming off an overtime loss to the Nebraska Danger earlier tonight. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Arizona Plus, streamed online on YouTube and the FOX Sports GO app, and simulcast on Money Radio 1510 and 105.3 FM.